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St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School ‘Serve the Lord with Joy’

School Curriculum

"The school’s curriculum, including in early years, is top-notch. Children get off to a flying start from their earliest days." 

(Ofsted, February 2020)

The School Curriculum at St Dominic Savio follows the 2014 National Curriculum, which forms the backbone to our own School Curriculum. It aims to provide academic rigour, unique opportunities and to motivate and excite our pupils. We focus on a knowledge-based curriculum approach.


"Schools enable young people to acquire the knowledge that, for most of them, cannot be acquired at home or in the community." (Michael Young).


Our Curriculum:

  • Is broad and rich
  • is focused upon knowledge in all subject areas and recall of key facts
  • Ensures high standards in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as being broad and balanced, providing plenty of opportunities for enrichment
  • excites our pupils’ imaginations
  • is progressive, ensuring continuity from Reception to Year 6, building upon knowledge
  • provides a firm foundation for later learning and subject choice
  • is relevant to our pupils and their surroundings
  • is underpinned by excellent teaching


In the core subjects of English, mathematics and science, there is a relentless focus on teaching the fundamentals and it is our aim that no child will leave St Dominic Savio without these core skills in place. This is reflected in our national test results where pupil outcomes are in the top 1% in England. Alongside this is a desire to develop a love of reading in our pupils by giving them the opportunity to quality literature and to reflect on the themes inherent in these works. In mathematics, pupils learn not just to be numerate, but also to apply their knowledge of key mathematical concepts across a range of problem-solving situations. In science, our pupils leave for secondary school with secure knowledge of the inter-related disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics and a strong understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science, developed through practical activity.


We are in transition to planning our school curriculum based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, developed by Professor ED Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Foundation for elementary schools in the United States, but adapted for English primaries. This curriculum was first introduced in the UK by the charity Civitas and you can find out more about it here. The idea behind it is that all children should complete their primary education with a storehouse of general knowledge, along with the self-confidence and skills to use it. The Core Knowledge Curriculum at our school will prepare our pupils for moving on to our secondary school and for leading their lives as citizens in modern Britain.


The Core Knowledge Curriculum comprises: science, history, geography and visual arts which are in the National Curriculum.

Religious Education

As a Catholic school our provision for Religious Education is through 'God Matters' - the RE scheme set by the Diocese of Portsmouth. We are adapting knowledge-led learning into our RE syllabus.



ICT is taught discretely as well as through the curriculum subjects. Pupils are taught a range of specific computing skills, including coding, meeting the demands of the 2014 National Curriculum. A key element of most units is an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their proficiency in this subject by using ICT resources to solve a given problem. The Computing curriculum covers significant areas of online safety and appropriate behaviour online.


Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

PSHE is taught from a detailed scheme and teachers are encouraged to add to this as necessary. Through our assemblies and worship to visits from outside experts, such as health professionals or the fire brigade, PSHE is embedded into the daily life of the school. These activities, combined with teacher-led discussion, circle time and informal talks about issues as they arise, mean that learning in this vitally important curriculum area is always relevant to what is happening in class, school or the wider world.



Music is taught through Music Express and Charranga. Our school is passionate about music and enabling children to perform and sing with their hearts out. Year 4 have the opportunity for specialist music teaching: drumming and ukulele. Year 3 learn the recorder. Year 1 engage in Samba drumming. Click here for the Music curriculum.



The learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for children. Children develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning and reinforce the skills required for learning English. This is particularly relevant at St Dominic Savio where there are a high proportion of English as an additional language (EAL) learners.


Through learning a foreign language, pupils develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between other languages and English. They raise their awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and their learning develops an international dimension which gives them an insight into their own culture and those of others.


At St Dominic Savio, we have chosen to teach French. In addition, all other languages and cultures are celebrated and valued throughout the school. We celebrate Bastille Day each July.